Back in 2011-12 Britten Sinfonia ran a slightly more unusual campaign: A Tenner for a Tenor. The campaign was the first time Britten Sinfonia had tested the ‘crowdfunding’ concept – basically, getting lots of people together giving small amounts, in order to make a project happen. With the Tenner for a Tenor campaign, we were commissioning the acclaimed composer Jonathan Dove for our ‘At Lunch’ concert series, and we needed additional funds to make it happen. By the time of the world premiere, over 300 people had come together, giving £10 or more each. Everyone was a winner: Britten Sinfonia achieved its target for the campaign, and those giving £10 had their name in the front of the full score, which will remain there forever.
We were thrilled with the response, but at the time the Tenner for a Tenor campaign was very much a ‘one off’ thing, and was based solely on the fact that Jonathan Dove’s work featured the world-renowned tenor Mark Padmore, and to participate you just had to give £10. You quite literally got a tenor, for a tenner. It got us thinking though: how can we replicate this success in future? As importantly, how can we enable more people to have a real stake in the new music that they hear Britten Sinfonia perform on stage?
Well, we’re excited to announce that the successor campaign has launched: Musically Gifted. When looking at the charity marketplace, we saw there were various shining examples of excellence out there, especially away from the arts sector, including Oxfam’s famous ‘Unwrapped’ campaign. The beauty of Oxfam’s campaign is that you can buy a unique gift, and that depending on how much you have to spend, you can buy anything from a goat, to safe water for 50 people, to teacher training plus much more. All of the gifts bought enable Oxfam to deliver real change in the communities in which they operate.
With Musically Gifted we’ve taken a similar approach. Instead of goats we have composers, and we’ll have up to eight composers for you to choose from at any one time. You can buy a gift at one of seven different levels, and the more you spend, the more your rewards increase. The basic gift remains at just £10, and for that we’ll give you a hearty shout-out on Twitter and Facebook, plus you’ll get your name in the full score of your chosen work and email updates as the work evolves from commission to premiere. If you have a bit more to spend, then you can have anything from complimentary tickets to the world première of your chosen work, to an invitation for you and a guest to attend our rehearsals. You can even have afternoon tea with your chosen composer and our players.
Visit the website, www.musicallygifted.org.uk, and browse the selection of composers available. Buy a gift for yourself, or for the special someone in your life. Whoever you choose and at whatever level, you’ll be helping Britten Sinfonia create new music.
Finally, there’s one more important bit of information to tell you. As we were planning the campaign, Arts Council England put out a call for proposals, that would enable more people to give to the arts. We’re really pleased to say that the Musically Gifted campaign was one of the chosen proposals, and as a result for the next two years all gifts bought through Musically Gifted will be match-funded by the Arts Council, up to a maximum of £50,000 each year. We can also claim gift aid on your gift too. Your £10 gift could therefore become £22.50; or a £500 gift could become worth £1,125 – at absolutely no cost to you. So, if you’re in the market for a unique musical gift then please do visit the website and help us create new music.